This magnificent snuffbox, the work of the Royal Jeweller Garrard and Company, which is struck with the mark of Sebastian Garrard, is related to an example in The Royal Collection (RCIN4083), which was made in the same year, also by Garrard, and similarly commemorates the coronation of H.M. King George V (1910-1936) in 1911. It was later presented by his consort H.M. Queen Mary (1867-1953) to her son H.M. King George VI (1936-1952) to commemorate his Coronation in 1937, as recorded by the inscription on the interior of the cover. John Pope Hennessey notes the gift with a quotation from Queen Mary’s diary in his biography of the queen ‘…to Bertie a dark blue enamel snuff box with our miniatures. Bertie then gave us his family order, his miniature on a pink ribbon, lovely, he also gave me the Victorian Chain…’, J. Pope Hennessy, Queen Mary 1867-1953, London, 1959, p. 585.
The overall design of the Royal Collection snuffbox is similar, however, it is a darker blue and there are some variations in the ornament. The outer border on the cover of the Royal Collection box is enamelled with sprays of foliage and quatrefoils in green, the quatrefoil motifs are each within an oval white enamel cartouche. This outer border has a scalloped edge. The current lot has a more elaborate outer border of berried laurel enamelled in red and green and is set with eleven diamonds. It has an inner border of white enamel beading. The Royal Collection box has plain sides enamelled in dark blue, whereas the current lot has panelled sides of translucent blue enamel framed by white enamel beaded borders and divided by rosette headed gold pilasters enamelled with berried laurel foliage in red and green. The base of the Royal Collection box is applied with the Garter Star. A related box with similar miniatures, but with the positions reversed; King George V on the left and Queen Mary on the right, within ribbon tied oval cartouches, flanking their diamond set crowned cyphers in the centre, was given as a Christmas present by Queen Mary to King George V in 1913. It was exhibited as part of 'Queen Mary's Art Treasures' at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1954.
Sebastian Garrard’s mark is also found on other Coronation objects; such as the silver poles of the Coronation Canopy used at coronation of H.M. King George VI in 1937 and the Prince of Wales’ coronet worn by H.R.H. George, Prince of Wales, later H.M. King George V, at the coronation of his father, H.M. King Edward VII (1901-1910), on 9 August 1902. It was worn once more by H.R.H. Edward, Prince of Wales (1894-1972), later H.M. King Edward VIII (1936) at the coronation of H.M. King George V on 22 June 1911.
The company was founded in 1722 by George Wickes. A succession of partnerships throughout the 18th century saw Robert Garrard I join in 1792 becoming sole owner in 1802. Garrard succeeded Rundell, Bridge and Rundell as the Crown Jeweller in 1843. Sebastian Henry Garrard (1869-1946), whose mark appears on this lot, was the last member of the family to lead the company. He was the son of James Mortimer Garrard (1834-1900). Previously located in Panton Street the company moved in the coronation year from their building in Haymarket to 39-42 Albemarle Street and 17 Grafton Street.